Nigerian and other African pilgrims on lesser hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia have staged a protest in Jeddah airport, following their abandonment by Ethiopian Airlines.
The protest, which attracted the attention of Saudi authorities, was sparked by the airline’s “poor and unprofessional treatment” and abandoning of passengers of African descent for between one and four days.
A senior Nigerian journalist, Umar Tudunwada, who is currently in Jeddah, said some of the pilgrims were left on queue without checking in for up to three days, while the Ethiopian Airlines ignored them with neither feeding nor decent accommodation.
The journalist sent the report to DAILY NIGERIAN on Saturday.
“Some pilgrims complained that they have spent all their money in anticipation of their scheduled flight taking them home, and they have now been starving.
“The pilgrims were particularly irked at Ethiopian Airline’s refusal to either explain reasons for their failure to fulfill their contractual agreement or apologize for their inadequacy.
“One of the senior security officials of Jeddah airport, appealed to the passengers to calm down, assuring them that appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that their grievances are addressed.
“As an immediate measure, he promised that meals will be immediately provided to the pilgrims, and they will all be evacuated latest by midnight.
“No official of Ethiopian Airlines was available for comments as they have all taken cover, for fear of reprisals by the angry passengers.
“An uneasy calm has now been restored for now, but there are fears that as more passengers arrive from Makkah, the tense situation may deteriorate,” Mr Tudunwada added.
However, DAILY NIGERIAN could not independently verify the report.